Published: July 20th, 2022
Categories: Plants and Seeds
There are many reasons you might avoid smoking tobacco in a joint or spliff. Maybe you want to avoid the addictive properties of nicotine, or maybe you just can’t get hold of any. Whatever your reason, unless you want to smoke pure weed all the time, you probably want some other combustible herb to help fill out your joints.
There’s plenty out there that you can burn alongside your weed, and this list is by no means exhaustive. But these are our personal favourite herbs to use.
Note: by avoiding smoking tobacco, you are not avoiding the health risks associated with smoking. Many of the carcinogens found in tobacco smoke are also found in other types of smoke, and are a byproduct of combustion rather than a feature of tobacco. So if you're looking for a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco that eradicates all risks, you’re going to have to avoid smoking altogether.
Hops may be found in beer, but it's actually in the same family as cannabis. What an amazing family! Hops is also a top tobacco alternative for your joints. Like many strains of cannabis, hops contains the terpene myrcene, which gives it a peppery flavour and even is thought to affect the way THC crosses the blood–brain barrier.
Hops, though it may not cause a high, may cause noticeable effects when smoked. Some people may enjoy these effects, while others may be less taken with them. Either way, it’s worth a try, and might just become your new favourite companion to cannabis! One notable drawback is that hop flowers burn unevenly, and the smoke can be quite harsh.
• Tasty and aromatic
• Has some “weed-like” effects and flavours
• Can be very harsh to smoke
• Burns slowly and unevenly
Passionflower is another great tobacco alternative for bulking up spliffs and joints. This tasty, sleepy dried herb adds a nice, even burn to your joints. Best used alongside chill indicas, this is a herb more suited to evenings in, rather than fast-paced days under the influence of a potent sativa.
• Burns evenly
• Complex sweetness
• Can be a bit too sleepy
White lotus is a tobacco alternative with psychoactive effects of its own. An alkaloid present in this flower, called aporphine, binds with dopamine receptors and can add an extra element of "high" to your smoke. Depending on what you’re after, this can be either desirable or undesirable.
White lotus has a pretty distinct and musky smell, which means it may mask the taste of your weed. Many won’t be too bothered by this, but some may find that white lotus obscures the cannabis taste too much, and may opt for another herb.
• Subtle psychoactive effect
• Distinct smoke
• Potentially overpowering flavour and aroma
• Added psychoactivity may not be ideal for all users
This herb has been used in Central and South America for thousands of years due to its high caffeine content. If you include yerba mate in your smoke, expect a little extra burst of energy.
Whether this is pleasant comes down to the individual. Some people love caffeine when high, while others find it sends their minds spinning. So perhaps start low and slow until you know where you fall with yerba mate's effect. Also, perhaps not the best choice before bed!
• Provides a little caffeine hit
• Earthy flavour
• Bitter taste
• Burns unevenly unless well-ground
• Caffeine content makes it unsuitable for some users
Damiana is a top addition to any herbal smoking mixture. This herb offers great flavour, an even burn, and a little cerebral buzz on top!
When smoked, damiana is reported to soothe the body and gently stimulate the mind, which can complement the effects of weed quite wonderfully. You should also find that it burns gently and evenly, even alongside the driest weed. In terms of flavour, it’s quite assertive. Think spice!
• Pleasant effects
• Even burn
• Unique flavours in its own right
• Flavour can be too strong for some
It’s not only cats that love catnip; we do too! This herb is super tasty, with notes of sweet mint. On top of its flavour, catnip has mildly relaxing properties that can complement those of cannabis very well. Given these benefits, catnip is in many ways one of the most pleasant tobacco alternatives available to use in your joints.
On the other hand, catnip burns fast and unevenly. Depending on your batch of weed, this can be a bit of a problem. You may find that the catnip burns down quickly, leaving the weed blackened and half-burnt, wasting many of the precious cannabinoids still trapped inside. To avoid this, grind your weed and catnip together, and pack the joint fairly tight.
• Pleasant effects
• Your cats will love it
• Burns pretty poorly
• Your cats will love it!
You’re not just limited to the herbs on this list when looking for tobacco alternatives to include in your weed smoking mix. In fact, you're not limited to any tobacco alternatives.
There are plenty of other methods you can use to consume cannabis, which require nothing else to burn alongside it. For instance, you could use a bong or a pipe, allowing you to use less weed, with no need to bulk up the mix.
Alternatively, you could avoid smoking altogether. Vaporizers and dab rigs offer combustion-free alternatives, which means less stress on your throat and lungs, and they reveal more of what cannabis can offer in terms of taste—and potency!
Finally, you could infuse your weed into edibles and leave your lungs out of it entirely.
However you choose to consume your cannabis, be sure to enjoy yourself!